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Kontinuum: Earth Blood Magic

This album has many moods; my guess is that listeners will either respond to its range or they will simply leave it alone, hoping for something more aggressive. I liked it, but it took me several listens to appreciate the layers, the overall texture, of the sound. No, it isn't complicated, just a little quieter, a little more needing of attention, than other new releases this month.

For those unfamiliar with Kontinuum, they are a new band based out of Iceland. Earth Blood Magic is their first release. The band describes themselves as a progressive black metal outfit. Although I tend to quibble with such mixed labels, I think this one works well enough. Interested listeners should remember, though, that when these guys say "progressive," they really mean "mellow." Indeed, some tracks slow things way down, as in the last two tracks "Red" and "I Gljufradal ." I didn't mind; these two tracks were actually my favorites, mostly because they highlight Birgir Thorgeirsson's rich baritone voice. On "Red" he is joined by a female vocalist (I couldn't find her name--sorry) who adds a nice point of contrast. I recommend this track to listeners looking for something melancholy. So far as I can tell, this song is a lament over a dead lover. The opening line, "I dream of things far away," effectively takes us down the sad path of understanding her condition.

The rest of the album has, mostly, a faster tempo, one that brings out more of the progressive qualities of this band's songwriting. I really liked "Stranger Air" because of the way each section builds, gets heavier, before moving into an extended bridge. The vocals on this one are mixed slightly behind the music, giving them a haunting sound that I enjoyed. Other highlights included "Endgame," especially because of its strong bass passages and "City." I didn't really like the way "Endgame" included lines from what sounds like a televangelist midway through the song. I couldn't understand the purpose for it and thought it unnecessary.

Even though these guys describe their music as progressive black metal, I think it's more of a black progressive post metal release. To my ears, the black metal elements are more evident in certain aspects of tone and mood rather than in performance. In any event, Kontinuum is definitely a band worth checking out.

Track Listing:
1. Endgame
2. Steinrunninn Skogur
3. Moonshine
4. Stranger Air
5. Lightbearer
6. City
7. Lys Milda Ljos
8. Red
9. I Gljufradal

Added: February 6th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2458
Language: english

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